90 UN peacekeepers died in 2013

United Nations peacekeepers in the Republic of South Sudan hoist their flag on UN Day, Oct. 24, 2013.

New York - This year 90 UN peacekeepers lost their lives while participating in one of the 15 UN peacekeeping missions currently operating around the world, the United Nations has reported.

Two-thirds of the fatalities were attributed to accidents or illness, said Herve Ladsous, UN under secretary for peacekeeping missions.

It is the lowest number of fatalities among UN peacekeepers in five years, said Ladsous as he reported Friday on UN peacekeeping missions.

Approximately 100,000 UN peacekeepers, who are known for their light blue helmets and flags, are deployed in the 15 missions. About one-quarter of them are stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sudan with just under one-quarter of the total has he next largest contingent.

The UN says about 83,000 of its peacekeepers are soldiers, about 13,000 are police and about 2,000 are military advisers.

The number of fatalities in 2013 didn't take into account the 17,000 civilians employed in UN peacekeeping missions. About two-thirds of them are from the host countries.

In the 65-year history of UN peacekeeping there have been 68 missions. Some have lasted only a few weeks, while others have dragged on for decades. In all the missions over the years a total of 3,172 men and women have lost their lives in military service to the UN, 2,200 of them died in accidents or from illness.

The total doesn't include the number of soldiers who died in the Korean war when the UN fought to contain the aggression of communist North Korea and China.

Ladsous called on the industrial nothern countries around the globe to send more soldiers on peacekeeping missions. Ninety-five per cent of current UN peacekeepers come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Brazil.

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